Friday, August 22, 2008

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne

Our small group from church picked The Irresistible Revolution as our next study book. Every week we would discuss our thoughts on the next chapter and it was amazing how many opposing and also unifying opinions came out of our discussions. I think it is very important to take a teaching book and break it down into bite size pieces and then compare it against the word of God. I'm blessed to be in a small group where everyone is comfortable to speak freely whether it be in agreement or disagreement to the status quo. We challenge ourselves and each other to know God in a greater way and how we can live out our lives demonstrating this.

With that said, this book brought some fascinating and yet challenging discussions between us. Shane Claiborne does not mince words by any means whatsoever. At times, that's the way I would prefer it, just say what you mean and don't come up with some fancy over-analyzed theory on your viewpoint. And boy did he say what he meant. I found myself agreeing with how he challenges the church to truly act as Christians are called to by getting to know the poor and showing love to our neighbors. But then I would strongly disagree with how he believes we should not be fighting this war we're in but instead showing love. I know that God is love and his greatest command is to love our neighbors as ourselves. But at the same time, though we serve a God who forgives and heals, He is also a jealous God who can show wrath. I don't believe that God sending His Son Jesus in the New Testament, completely changes God's character from the Old Testament. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, therefore His character has not changed. It's just that now because of the New Testament we have been allowed a place to find forgiveness and communing directly with the Father through His spirit, finally giving us the free choice of accepting eternal salvation.

Shane is extremely passionate about the poor, the needy and loving others within the community he is a part of The Simple Way. I believe, unlike many of us Christians today, what makes him stand out, is that he actually has the courage to walk out the destiny God has called him to. I was awed by the time he spent with Mother Teresa and the lepers, but does that mean that all Christians are meant to go to Calcutta? No some of us are called to witness to those sitting in the cube next to us, at the table we're waiting on, the elderly man across the street - and that does not make him a better Christian or any of us less of one.

I was taken aback by Shane Claiborne's view on the church, and was left more with the impression than rather him supporting the idea of an actual building where people come together to worship, he believes the church can be anyone meeting anywhere and giving their 10% tithe to anyone. Hmmm...this brought up a lot of heated discussion and we really contemplated on both ideas.

In the end, I'm glad I read it. At times I found myself on the verge of tears convicted by my selfishness and other times I wanted to throw the book across the room in complete disagreement with him. But when its all said and done, not all of us as Christians are going to see everything the same way, and that's really ok. One church or even denomination is not more important or more enlightened or more loved by God than another, the body consists of hands, feet, arms and legs and they each have a different role and view from their place on that body.

So would I recommend this? Yes, because we all need to get out of our boxes and be challenged to see things from another Christian's viewpoint and allow God to be the one that shows you where you need to go from there. And to Shane, thank you for having the courage to write what God has so passionately laid on your heart to share and not being afraid to offend us Christians by writing it. We need more believers like that!

Description: Using unconventional examples from his own life, Shane Claiborne stirs up questions about the church and the world, and challenges readers to truly live out their Christian faith.

Rating: ****

Recommend: yes for everyone.

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